Book says Canada can support three more NHL teams

The Toronto Maple Leafs follow the action from the bench during their loss to the Winnipeg Jets at...

The Toronto Maple Leafs follow the action from the bench during their loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Saturday April 5, 2014. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:54 PM ET

Canada could financially support three more teams in the NHL over the next 20 years, the Conference Board of Canada says.

Hamilton and Quebec City could support a team right now, while the Greater Toronto Area could eventually support a second team, according to the board’s newly-published book Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports.

Economists and sports fans Glen Hodgson and Mario Lefebvre examine the economic conditions of the communities that host professional franchises, operating conditions for pro sports leagues, franchise ownership and management, and who should pay for new pro sports facilities.

“Hamilton and Quebec City meet most of the basic market criteria for an NHL franchise,” Hodgson said in a release. “However, both are among the smallest markets in the league, so new franchises will need to have dedicated owners who are in it for the long run and manage their business operations carefully.”

A second team in Toronto would come at a steep price, according to the authors, who estimate approximately $1 billion will be needed to acquire a franchise, build a playing facility and address the Toronto Maple Leafs’ territorial rights.

KESLER: ‘I DIDN’T ASK FOR TRADE’

Ryan Kesler said it’s tough to hear his name thrown around in trade rumours, adding that he hopes he can stay with the Vancouver Canucks.

However, when asked during the Canucks’ locker clean out Monday if he was open to a deal, the centre got defensive.

“Where did you get that from, Twitter? French guy?” he said. “I didn’t ask for a trade. For the organization, I think it’s best to keep that in house.”

In late February, reports surfaced that the forward requested a trade at the start of the season.

“Completely false,” Kesler said following the 2014 Sochi Olympics. “I’m happy. I love my teammates. I love the city. My son was born here, my kids grew up here.”

Kesler has played his entire 10-year career with the Canucks.

PENS RECALL VOKOUN

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun was recalled from his conditioning assignment with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL Monday.

Vokoun played two games, going 1-1-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.

Vokoun, 37, missed all of the regular season because of a blood clot in his pelvis. He was expected to be Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup this season. Instead, rookie Jeff Zatkoff went 12-6-2 with a 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage over 20 games in that role.

Last season, Vokoun went 13-4-3 in 20 regular-season games as Fleury’s backup, and then replaced him during the first-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Islanders. He went 6-5 with a 2.01 GAA and .933 save percentage in last year’s postseason.

COYOTES EYE CHANGES

General manager Don Maloney is not happy that the Phoenix Coyotes missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

Although injuries to goaltender Mike Smith and centre Martin Hanzal didn’t help, Maloney feels something needs to change for the team to return to the postseason.

“We certainly came into this year with the expectation to be a playoff team,” Maloney told AZCentral.com. “That to me is a minimum goal for this franchise. It didn’t happen, and so now we have to figure out what went wrong and that’s the job of myself and the staff and work with the coaches to get better and that’s what we’re all about here.”

Maloney said Smith suffered an MCL sprain to his right knee on March 24, while Hanzal was dealing with groin and hip issues.

ISLES KEEP CAPUANO

Jack Capuano will return to the New York Islanders as their head coach.

The 47-year-old has a 118-120-39 record since taking over for Scott Gordon 17 games into the 2010-11 season.

Capuano assistants Doug Weight and Brent Thompson are also keeping their jobs.

“Cappy will be back,” general manager Garth Snow told New York’s Newsday. “If we have an opportunity to add to our staff, the way we’d look to add a player, then we’ll do that. But I don’t expect to change the current staff.”

As the players cleared out their lockers, the Isles sent forwards Mike Halmo, Brett Gallant, John Persson and Justin Johnson, and defencemen Scott Mayfield and Matt Donovan to Bridgeport of the AHL.

WRIST SURGERY FOR SEMIN

Carolina Hurricanes right wing Alexander Semin will have wrist surgery, the Raleigh News and Observer reported Monday.

Semin sat out the final two games of the season with the injury. The Hurricanes did not qualify for the playoffs.

Semin had 22 goals and 20 assists in 65 games this season. He did not have a goal or an assist in his final six games.

BRIEFLY

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was fined $5,000 by the NHL for spearing Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Brett Bellemore Sunday ... The Montreal Canadiens signed 2013 second-round pick Jacob de la Rose to a three-year, entry-level contract that will begin next season ... The New Jersey Devils sent forwards Adam Larsson, Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo, and defenceman Jon Merrill to Albany of the AHL ... Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson and Columbus Blue Jackets centre Ryan Johansen were named the NHL’s three stars for the week.


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